Need for a Social Media Policy

Remember Dominos Pizza’s Christy and Micheal who posted a stomach-turning video of things they did with the toppings? However dumb it may sound now, they certainly were not the first ones to use social media to highlight their doings. Today, a camera and an internet link is all that one needs to post anything online for the rest of the world to view and take notice of.

But these are offcourse one-off cases. You would undoubtedly feel great when your employees become the tools of word-of-mouth for your company, especially in the online space. Employees can be seen as a biggest asset as well as a social media tool. However, there are certain pitfalls that one may come across which may seriously dent the image of the organization. Restricting employees from using social media platforms may not necessarily be a feasible solution. Here, a comprehensive social media policy clears confusion and can ensure that while the employees use the social media, your brand image or organizational reputation is always upheld.

There are certain essentials that need to be incorporated in your social media policy to make it comprehensive as well as effective. However, before creating an arbitrary manual on your social media policies, it is prudent to understand the risks and opportunities that can come across.

Need-for-a-social-media-policy

Need-for-a-social-media-policy

  1. Understand the objective of your social media presence: Be clear on how you would wish to portray your brand in the social media space. A brand such as GM, Sodexo and Discovery Communications, have championed the art of using employees-driven content to strengthen their brand profile online. Discover Communications, for instance, encourages its employees from around the world to share and post pictures on Twitter. Or a waiter at a restaurant tweeting interesting updates on Twitter will definitely have a better connect with his customers.
  2. Consider your audience: Determine who your clients are and what kind of content would be best fitted to create an engaging conversation with them. This will help in taking you to the next step of identifying the areas of employee interaction that may occur between your audience and employees. In turn, this will give you an idea into the possible pitfalls as well as opportunities.
  3. Introduce the purpose of social media policy : Focus on things that the employees can do rather than the negatives. Not only will this be received in the right light, it will set a positive tone for all future social media engagements. The thumb rule is that whatever you highlight will stay in the memory longer, and focusing on what should not be done will be restricting the opportunities that employees can leverage to create a positive impact.
  4. What all should it cover? A comprehensive social media policy should specify threadbare what all comes under the “social media” ambit. Identifying a spokesperson, your online audience, copyright issues, content quality, guidelines etc. A large part of the policy document will be more specific to your business / industry. But more than the policy document, there needs to be team or a group of people who are assigned the task of managing and monitoring the social media space diligently.
  5. Don’t be a hitler: As mentioned earlier, your employees can be your strength with some training and direction. You cannot totally ban them from using social media. The idea is to empower them to strengthen your brand rather than a using restrictive approach of not using your name online.

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